Futourist is focusing on reviews as they represent one of the most trusted and helpful content types found online. And most importantly, reviews are directly related to some business revenue. The travel industry, which today offers many opportunities through technologies like cloud video and blockchain.
1. Why create Futourist?
These days, a lot of decisions are made based on online content. Revenue of the content industry was worth more than $190 billion in 2016 and is expected to be worth more than $313 billion by 2019!. People have a special skill to see the world in the most unique ways. Their opinions, views and discoveries alter the way Futourist see the world and have an enormous impact on our daily decision making.
There is only a handful of people who have managed to turn their content into profit, while the majority of content creators are left without anything. On the other side, companies and platforms that produce insignificant amounts or literally no content but can monetize their user’s free content are the ones that are worth the most. As Futourist can see, the existing worlds of content creators and businesses who benefit from their work have never been more out of balance.
Our vision is to change the perception of content creator’s value and bring balance between the creators and the world of business. From reviewers, influencers, writers, photographers and other content creators, everyone needs to get rewarded.
Futourist is the first review platform that rewards their users through building a fair blockchain-based economy
"Futourist is a travel review platform built on blockchain in order to bring fairness to all content creators in form of financial rewards."
where all - reviewers, businesses and casual consumers - get the most benefit for participating. It’s a place where future tourists will make decisions about where they are spending their precious time.
Futourist is based on reviews because they are one of the most helpful and trustworthy information found on the internet. On top of that, reviews and star ratings are directly related with business revenue. This makes reviews a perfect example where information should be monetized by the creator, not only the business.
Futourist is based on fair distribution of rewards underlined by the blockchain technology. The entire internal economy within Futourist will be based on Futourist token (FTR). This will make Futourist a transparent, trustworthy platform, where the economy and rewards are distributed among all the content creators in a fair way
Futourist’ll be focusing on video reviews. A picture says a thousand words and video is composed of thousands of pictures. Video is the future of information sharing, because of the speed and convenience of how the information is created and perceived. And as a bonus, video reviews are trustworthy and hard to fake. You know.. “video or didn’t happen”.
With Futourist, influencers will have a place to display and directly monetize their content. And through Futourist’s internal social network, they will have the ability to spread awareness about their content and increase their social reach.
Unlike many other blockchain startups, Futourist will start building on top of an existing and working platform called OpenHours. It generates more than 1 million monthly users which is perfect for proving our concept. Data is king, so OpenHours’ places register, it’s users and Futourist’s token reward incentive for creation of content are the key to a fast growing future of Futourist.
Futourist has started building Futourist with the help of our exceptional advisors. With their amazing background, Tim Mitja Žagar, Alexander Vasylchenko, Michael Amy and Primož Kordež have been included from the very beginning. As the project evolves, Futourist is adding new members to the team, ranging from technical experts to experienced community builders.
2. Importance of reviewsReviews are one of the most globally spread and helpful kind of information found online. There is a direct correlation between review content and revenue of the business behind the reviewed object or service. Despite this fact, reviewers are rarely rewarded for their contribution in any way
Reviews have an enormous impact on people’s decisions when considering a business to buy services from. People nowadays tend to trust reviews more than anything else. Research shows that online reviews are as powerful as any personal recommendation.
The number of written reviews has reached 500 million on TripAdvisor alone .4 According to recent statistics, 90% of consumers read online reviews and 88% of them trust them.5 Furthermore, 89% of consumers say they read more than 2 reviews before making a decision.
Statistics show, that positive feedback from reviewers has an enormous impact on business revenue and can boost the sales up to 5 times.
+ A one star rating increase on Yelp leads to a 5 - 9% increase in businesses revenue
+ Customers are likely to spend up to 31% more on a business with top reviews
+ 67% of travelers said they are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores
Content creators and reviewers bring enormous benefits to business owners, but at the moment financial benefits are one directional - towards the businesses
3. The benefits of joining FutouristFree content
The ongoing growth of review platforms and review companies is based on user generated content. As described in previous sections, people are creating new content on a daily basis and giving those same platforms a source for generating enormous revenue and a reason to exist.
However, when it comes to sharing revenue, users are not part of the story anymore. Rather, profits are withheld by corporations, giving them the power to grow and become more powerful everyday. On December 28th 2017, the market capitalization of only three companies in the review and social media field was more than $524+ billion.
Focus on the wrong things
The main focus of existing platforms is creating functionalities that increase traffic and revenue instead of focusing on users. This focus drastically affects the user experience. Although monetisation is a very important part for online businesses, Futourist believe user experience and content should be a to priority.
Complexity of rewarding users
In order to reward users, there has to be something in return for the businesses. One of the most valuable things that a company can get in return and also benefit from long-term is social reach. We have seen how the influence marketing has changed the advertising world in last years, but it’s getting harder and harder for companies to arrange collaborations with influencers.
Individual collaboration arrangements with content creators are too complex. Evaluating an influencer takes a lot of time and other resources. Evaluating an ordinary user is almost impossible. Therefore companies primarily only choose the biggest influencers and don’t deal with other 99.9% of people who produce content for free. There is currently no service that would drastically simplify mass collaborations and arrangements with ordinary users in this matter.
The future of reviews is video
Futourist believe existing travel review platforms are falling behind by not embracing video as the main source of relevant, trustworthy information. Youtube is the site where you go for quality reviews, even though YouTube is not a review platform, it is just a basic influencer tool. We’re certain video is the future of online reviews and there is an opportunity on the market right now, up for grabs.
Catering the creators
There is an opportunity to generate quality content by catering the creators. The way to go is to implement influencers into the user experience of an online review platform as well as adding them to the revenue structure of the platform. Influencers need the tools to create content they like, interact with their followers and make money for doing it. If all is provided by the platform, the content creators are left with just the things they like to do and that incentivizes quality content creation on a platform as well as cheap creator-acquisition.
What most of the influencer-friendly online platforms are doing is cashing out to just a fraction of the creators. Rewards should be distributed among all the creators in a fair way, based on the community’s acceptance of the content created. Even if it’s $5, it’s $5 someone could spend on an after-work drink. Where they could review the drink and maybe get another drink for free.
4. About FutouristThe futourist app
Futourist is a web and mobile app. On Futourist you can watch and read reviews of nearby restaurants, bars, hotels and apartments, means of transport, and other things to do like attractions, sightseeing points, parks, beaches, historic places etc.
The app consist of a review feed that can be filtered and sorted in various ways. The feed consists of videos, photos and text reviews. By default it shows the latest reviews of the nearest places around you (Around me now feature).
If you decide to contribute by reviewing a place, you can do that easily with one click. And If your content is approved by the community, you will be rewarded for your review.
+ Video reviews
All major review sites consist of written and photo reviews. We want to differentiate Futourist by focusing on the video review feature. Video content is growing in traffic as 78% of people watch videos online every week and 55% of people watch videos online every day. Half of the mobile traffic is generated by online videos. With the video trend not looking to slow down, it is estimated that by 2021 every second a million minutes of video content will cross the network.
Overall 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision-making process. Social media platforms are all following this public viewpoint.
These statistics serve as a concrete indicator on where online content is heading. With video features we will empower users with an ability to create the most meaningful content and share it in the most convenient way for others to consume.
Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts like our travel review platform. Gamification improves an individual's ability to comprehend digital content.
We’ll be implementing various gamification elements into Futourist, to make users feel comfortable, have them stay engaged longer and show them a purpose in participating. Gamification elements boost the overall user experience and bring users back to the app. With years of experience in game development industry, our team is more than competent enough to develop efficient gamification features.
+ Achievements and badges
Achievements are milestones a user can complete. They give the user a future goal within the app and therefore increases the user retention. Example achievements: “First to review a park in Berlin”, “Reviewed 20 places in 1 week”, “Curated 1000+ reviews”, “No. 1 reviewer in January”, etc.
Users will collect digital badges for doing something special. Digital badges are going to be displayed publicly on user accounts. Achievements and badge collection are proven gamification mechanics. The point of them is to boost users engagement, give users a purpose and just make the app more fun to use.
Apart from the achievements users may get additional badges like “Early supporter” for all of you reading our whitepaper and being amongst the first supporters.
Account level represents the state and trust of this account and is visible publicly. Users level up their accounts by contributing to the platform in various ways (posting reviews, curating, reporting, creating guides…). High level accounts get more respect from the community and getting to a high level unlocks additional features only available to the most trusted reviewers. Levels is another proven gamification technique that incentivizes the user to contribute more.
Nobody likes learning, that’s why the onboarding phase (tutorial phase) is one of the key points in user experience where users must not be intimidated by the app. Game development industry has found various ways of implementing tutorials without players even feeling like they are in a tutorial, but rather that they’re just playing the game as it is. We’ll make the initial onboarding phase clear and easy, without much textual instructions.
5. Online review marketSize
Revenue of content industry was worth more than $190 billion in the year 2016 and is expected to be worth more than $313 billion by the year 2019! From early researchers it is estimated that almost $31 billion a year of UK consumer spending is potentially influenced by online reviews.1⁵ The market cap of travel review industry in 2015 was worth more than $1 billion in North America alone.
UN World Tourism Organization is projecting 1.8 billion tourists by 2030.
At this moment, we do not have a direct competition that would reward the contributors using blockchain. Our real competition exists in the old economy, with companies like TripAdvisor, Foursquare and Yelp, but they do not incentivise their users to create quality content with meaningful rewards.
The main differences between us and the current competition:
+ Quality content creation incentive through token rewards
+ Focusing on video reviews
+ Catering the influencers (long-tail included)
Go to marketing strategy
We created a plan-of-attack on the online review industry to be executed once we successfully develop the first version of Futourist.
Converting existing openhours users
The OpenHours platform has 1 million monthly organic users. These will slowly be transformed to active users and contributors, while functionalities which current users still benefit from will be kept. The platform will organically be upgraded with well-placed instructions, features and notifications which will display all of the benefits that Futourist proposes.
Traveler influencers marketing
The trend of influencer marketing has changed advertising dramatically in the last few years. Bloggers, YouTubers and influencers have a huge impact on society nowadays. Our team has worked with this kind of marketing extensively in their previous businesses, so they understand the process and benefits and have plenty precious connections with travel influencers. Travel blogger and vloggers are going to be key here. We’ll make the most of the connections we already possess and make new ones on the way
Data oriented approach
We believe data is king and for a fresh platform like Futourist it’s hard to generate the critical mass of content that would attract the consumers. To prevent a “ghost town” situation at platform launch, we will do the following:
+ Use OpenHours service register, existing reviews and scraping tools to create a data foundation on top of which reviews can be posted.
+ The whole point of Futourist is to incentivize the content creation through token rewards. We’ll allocate a large amount of tokens for the early adopters and initial review rewards.
7.3.4. TRADITIONAL ONLINE ADVERTISING
+ Social media advertising: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
+ SEO optimisation
+ Native ads
Partnering with important travel industry players
Behind the development work, we have already started conversations with some amazing players in the travel industry. We will be working on establishing beneficial partnerships in order to scale Futourist’s audience.
6. FUTOURIST Token (FTR)The economy is based on blockchain transactions. Inside Futourist every exchange of value is going to happen through a transaction of a newly issued Futourist Token (FTR), an ERC20 token being processed on the Ethereum network.
Our token model is built around supply and demand between businesses, reviewers and other participants in Futourist micro-economy. Token in its utility form acts as a value transfer tool between business participants and ordinary users that bring value to the platform. Participants in the Futourist micro-economy can use FTR tokens in various ways. The core of it is that reviewers get rewarded with FTR tokens, and businesses give away FTR tokens in order to incentivize review creation through contests and other features.
We go through the list of participants in in Futourist’s Ecosystem Users section and we go through the features and token utilities in the section Core features and token utilities.
We are raising funds for our platform through Futourist Token (FTR) crowdsale. Funds raised through the crowdsale will be used for Futourist’s expenses: business operations, marketing & PR, development, legal & regulatory compliance and other.
Token crowdsale start date 15th february 2018,
Total token supply: 1.000.000.000 FTR
Tokens in crowdsale: 250.000.000 FTR (25%)
Crowdsale threshold: 700,000€
Crowdsale hard cap: 4,000,000€
Price per FTR: 0.016€
Tokens accepted in ICO Ether (ETH)
First 48h: 14% discount
Rest of 1st week: 9% discount
2nd week: 6% discount
3rd week: 3% discount
4th week: 0% discount
With possible exponential growth, we are setting apart 18% of tokens to cover future team members, advisors and experts. This will help us build a solid team with years of experience crucial to Futourist growth.
+ 5% of tokens will be reserved for OpenHours platform. Already existing platform that will give us a huge advantage when kickstarting the project was developed by the OpenHours company, but furthermore, with 1 mio monthly users, our platform will be ready to launch a lot faster.
+ 25% of tokens will be available for the ICO crowdsale.
+ 7% tokens will be available for future partners
We will reserve 45% of tokens for our Community and for future projects.
In our first year of our runway, Futourist will reward users with a large percentage of reserved tokens. These tokens will be given back to community in form of contest rewards, each with different token amount, time period and objective.
Projected token distribution is based on minimal funding, otherwise token distribution in regards to OH will be distributed accordingly
Funds distribution financial plan
Allocation of collected funds
+ 55% of funds collected will be allocated for technical development of Futourist platform, for implementation
of contests feature and nearby offers feature
+ 15% of funds collected will be allocated for legal and administrative expenses and business operation
+ 25% of funds collected will be allocated for marketing and PR expenses, marketing campaigns - user acquisition
+ 5% of funds collected will be allocated for other unforeseen expenses
Short-term financial plan
+ assumes no revenue in 2018
+ the expansion of our development and marketing teams
+ focus on development
+ funds raised through the crowdsale will be sufficient for the stable operations of our team
Long-term financial plan
+ assumes revenue in Q1 2019
+ part of the funds from the crowdsale will be continuously distributed back to our community with a goal of
+ assumes break-even point in late 2019
7. VestingIn order to protect investors and our future users short- and long-term, we have decided to apply best practice self-governing procedures. Our team will vest its tokens, which is common in reliable companies. Vesting adds an additional incentive to push our project towards success.
Vesting assigns a specific amount of tokens locked in a smart contract to be distributed at a fixed rate over a fixed period of time. That is done in order to avoid the risk of token holders (founders, team members and advisors) dumping large amounts of tokens on the market or just fat fingering a token sell order too soon after the project is funded.
We will lock up our team’s tokens (18% of total token supply) for 9 months with a smart contract, which means they cannot be tampered with after the tokens will be created. After 9 months, team members will only be able to sell 25% of their tokens every 6 months. This vesting schedule ensures public the seriousness of the team behind the Futourist platform.
We will publish the smart contract that controls vesting within our project and with that prove to the community our long-term commitment. Every 6 months we will unlock funds for the next 6 months for driving the project forward. We have decided to implement this action for the purpose of the additional safety of the funds from the crowdsale participants and with that the safety of future users.
8. Technical details and explanationPareto distribution
Our protocol uses the same formula to reward content creators based on their rating. Speaking in the same terms as above, this means that the best reviews will be rewarded with the biggest amount of tokens.
Example of a Pareto distribution (α = 5) where $20,000 are distributed among 5000 reviews:
+ reviews between places 1 - 100 will receive from $95 (first place) to $11 (100th place)
+ reviews between places 100 - 1000 will receive from $11 to $5.56
+ reviews between places 1000 - 4000 will receive from $5.56 to $3.45
+ reviews between places 4000 - 5000 will receive from $3.45 to $3.20
How Futourist Protects Users From Abuse
The general challenge is that there are many ways to ‘game’ most systems, and, if unconstrained, this ‘gaming’ may only be limited by the abusers’ imaginations and the computational power they wield (e.g. the use of botnets etc.).
Recognising this, Futourist accept that this is a ‘cat-and-mouse’ game, and effective solutions involve making sure Futourist maintains the upper hand, to ensure that it is not profitable to abuse the system.
How Futourist Itself Mitigates Abuse
A core feature of Futourist protocol mitigates the effect of abuse. This feature is the indexed Pareto distribution model whereby the amount of funds distributed is allocated according to the index position in a sorted list of most influential reviews, and this index position maps into a ‘bucket’ in a Pareto distribution which determines the reward.
This creates two effects that mitigate abuse:
1. There is a hard cap on the maximum proportion of funds distributed. If compared to a more direct distribution model, e.g. funds distributed according to % influence, there is no way a single abusive user account can take the vast majority of funds, which reduces maximum potential profits from abuse.
2. The distribution can be divided into two parts, a set of a few ‘big winners’, followed by a long tail of ‘also rans’. For the big winners, because of the indexing model, to raise their winnings, they have to move up a step, and this incurs significant cost at this part of the distribution. For the ‘also rans’, the difference in rewards is comparatively much less on each step up the index, so the cost of abusive practices outweigh the expected minor difference in rewards, therefore it is more profitable for them to simply improve their reviews.
As an example, consider the case where the most influential reviewer A has an impact, of say, 1000 points, with a second reviewer, B, has 150 points. At index position 1 and 2, perhaps A is in line to receive $2000 and B gets $1000. (This ratio disparity might initially seem unfair or inefficient but when taking into account the network effects, whereby more popular reviews propagate exponentially, and the fact that all participants understand and accept the rules, we can say it is a fair allocation). For B to move to position 1 within a given amount of time, takes really significant effort, with no guarantee of success, as:
+ network effects will also tend to move A’s influence up in the same amount of time,
+ it is difficult for B to gauge A’s actual impact points value if B can only see their position.
Differentiating Abuse From Unexpected ‘Winning Strategies’
Nevertheless, B may still engage in ‘gaming’ the system. Note here the use of the word ‘gaming’ rather than ‘abuse’. This is because B may also indulge in practices that may be seen not so much as abuse, but as B developing some kind of ‘winning strategy’. For a familiar example, let’s take a Twitter-based strategy. B posts links to their review on many Twitter feeds, resulting in many Twitter users reading the reviews and rating them, and likely some of them sharing. If effective, B’s influence increases perhaps 10-fold, resulting in B moving to position 1. Now, B may be seen to be an abuser, but also can be seen as someone with a clever (albeit perhaps obvious) way of increasing the visibility and influence of their reviews, and therefore increasing exposure of contest partners. So it may well be that such behaviour is desirable within the system, and B should be rewarded more than A.
Use Of Auxiliary Protection Schemes
Futourist will employ auxiliary protection schemes that look at the reputations and identity of users, i.e. verify users and their activities. E.g. did they actually stay at a resort? Does their reviewing/rating follow a suspiciously predictable pattern? Real abusive users will simply be identified and banned, i.e. receive zero tokens from their activities. To remain fair, there will be appeal procedures.
Difficult Abuse Cases
Futourist faces the real ‘conspiratorial’ abuse cases. In these cases, a standard solution is to employ unsupervised machine learning systems which ultimately report to human users.
What happens generally is this: take as much data as possible, and feed it to an unsupervised machine learning system which looks for patterns and categorizes data according to similarity to other, previously seen patterns. This can include user ratings, review text, images
In a fraud case, there should always something in the data that looks unusual, for example, high similarity in word patterns between review texts, or a single reviewer being given the highest rating by 10000 new accounts which all signed up in the last 15 minutes and which never rated anything before or after. These are obvious cases, but, with enough previous data, even small shifts in patterns can ring alarm bells and be investigated.
Futourist will implement APIs within the OpenHours system to transfer data to in-house or external backend systems. This provides a highly flexible way to allow any kind of analysis, including the application of whatever standard or cutting-edge algorithms as necessary, including the possibility of outsourcing work to external companies with proprietary algorithms or access to additional data sources.
Validation of Futourist’s Abuse mitigation system
Futourist team will research and formulate an initial set of likely abuse scenarios and use them to evaluate inhouse or external abuse mitigation backends. This testing will be an ongoing process.
To protect our users against diverse abuse scenarios, Futourist will deploy multiple layers of security and protection based on:
+ the Futourist protocol itself,
+ auxiliary protection systems including the existing OpenHours architecture and infrastructure,
+ unsupervised machine learning to identify new abuse patterns,
+ possible use of third-party systems,
+ ultimately, human involvement and decision-making.
Futourist team will investigate new cases and make decisions on how to handle them in future, and report these improvements to partners or users. This increases the community value by letting users know Futourist is protecting them, as well as letting real abusers know that the Futourist system and team are actively working to defeat them, so they are likely not to even try.
This architecture and business model adds value in two ways; firstly by mitigating fraud, but secondarily, it identifies interesting new business models that users have devised, and which may be advantageous for Futourist to adopt or support.
10. Tokens in futourist systemThe FTR token is an irreplaceable part of the Futourist platform as a method of value exchange inside the platform. Its ownership grants holders the right to receive the value based on their activity.
When users interact with the content by entering a competition and use the other features on the platform, they receive tokens. Those cannot only be traded on the exchanges where they become a formulation between buyer and seller, but can also be used for other purposes in the future. The tokens will therefore be used also as an incentive (by monetization) to create something meaningful for other users and will therefore generate added value to the ecosystem of the Futourist platform.
As it was already previously stated, FTR token will provide numerous effortless transactions within the platform and will provide a simple monetization and value interaction between the platform, customers and users.
There will also be other opportunities for using FTR tokens outside the platform.
One of those will be the ability to purchase a product or service from Futourist’s partners and customers with FTR token, as it was already described in the previous chapters.
In order to get Futourist’s economy in run, the demand and supply side of the token economy must be properly stimulated. Initially Futourist team defines contests that will attract users who generate content and compete for rewards distributed from the reserve pool.
Futourist wants to position itself as a platforms maintenance provider and will leave the demand for content generation to the market. We believe that the key users on the other side of the market are businesses or investors that will mostly drive demand for contests, offers and other features. These businesses will have to buy FTR tokens either on the open market or on the platform. Once the contest is set, the distribution of tokens to the winners will be performed on protocol level without any third party interfering with it.
Futourist believe that even if a limited amount of tokens are distributed to users for free, they may carry larger utilization value if these users are properly selected. Therefore, one of our main goals is to find the most active and long term engaged users on the demand side of the market (businesses), who will ask for content being generated. Initially they will be given tokens to “play with” (set contests) and as the token economy will come into effect, they may recognize how this type of business model performed through incentives delivers better results in terms of content generation and brand awareness.
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